Friday, 4 July 2008

'I had to give my adopted daughter back'

Full Story:

When Karen and Jon Carr adopted four-year-old Lucy as a sister for their six-year-old birth daughter Hannah, they though they'd completed their happy family. But the adoption was fraught with difficulty, and the turmoil that followed brought the whole family to breaking point, forcing Karen and Jon to do the unthinkable Once we'd made the decision, we were very excited. We would have a new family, and a sister for Hannah. We'd always wanted another child, a playmate, but by the time we got round to doing anything about it Hannah was six, which we felt was too big an age gap. By adopting, we'd be able to choose a girl just a couple of years younger to be her sister. We thought that, with love, everything would fall into place. We'd just returned from holiday in 1999 when Valerie, the social worker who'd assessed us for adoption, contacted us to say that a child had been identified who matched our hopes: a little girl called Lucy, aged four. Within days, Lucy's social workers were sitting in our living room, drinking tea and discussing her history. We were shown a photo of her aged two, and saw a video of her around the same age. They said she was a bright child and that our situation was ideal because our family replicated her two previous homes, with Lucy being the younger of two sisters. (Lucy had been living with a foster sister, Shahida, who was two years older than her, and she also had an older birth sister, Jade.) We had no reason to doubt this logic. From then on, the introductions had to be done in haste, as her foster carer, Tracy, was being admitted to hospital and the social workers didn't want Lucy going to a new carer for just a few weeks. Instead of the usual fortnight introductory period for adoptions, we were given two days in which to meet and bond with Lucy. Tracy had said that Lucy wouldn't be particularly bothered by the move; she'd walk away without a backward glance. It amazes me now that this wasn't considered a problem.

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